If you love quotes like I do, you'll know that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of many wise words. While I was searching through his quotes the other day, the one above stopped me in my tracks. Due to the nature of my work, I spend a lot of time focusing on the self (and encouraging others to do the same). A lot of my work is based on turning one's gaze inward and finding ways to make life better from the inside out. Self-love and self-knowledge are some of my favorite topics to write about because I believe the relationship you have with yourself is the foundation for all your relationships. (For more on building this foundation, check out Finding Your Self and Loving Your Self.) But, of course, cultivating self-love and a positive attitude is only part of equation for living a positive and present life. Another huge aspect is doing what you can to make the world a more positive place.
When I first read this quote, I immediately thought, What am I doing for others? What am I doing on a daily basis to make the world a more positive place? What I love most about what I do for work is that I have the power to positively impact the lives of others online. I have the opportunity to reach out to others and share what I've learned about living a more positive, more present life. While this is nothing on the level of a positive impact of someone like MLK, it does feel good to know that, in some small way, I might be doing something for someone else. And, even if you don't have a positivity-focused job, I bet you have some area of your life in which you positively impact others -- coworkers, family members, kids, friends, etc.
We all have the power to do something kind for others, to make the world a better place by taking positive action (even if we don't all have the opportunity to be inspirational activists and leaders like MLK!), but sometimes when life gets busy or we're overwhelmed by our own stress, we can forget about the positive power we wield on a daily basis. In honor of MLK (and positive, forward-thinking leaders everywhere), I encourage you to embrace that power and do (at least!) one small positive thing on the list below to make someone else's life just a little bit better.
- Write a letter to a friend that lives far away
- Call up a relative who might be lonely
- Bring your neighbor's paper up to the door
- Sign up to volunteer at a local shelter
- Bake a special treat for someone you love
- Be on time when meeting up with others
- Read a story aloud to a child you know
- Let someone else go ahead in line
- Pay for the person's coffee behind you
- Give a generous tip to a service person
- Like every photo on your Instagram feed
- Send flowers to someone who loves them
- Plant something in honor of someone
- Visit the gravesite of someone you've lost
- Take your dog for a long, fun walk
- Give your significant other a massage
- Send an "I love you" text just because
- Let someone else win a silly argument
- Forgive someone who's hurt you
- Do someone else's chores for him/her
- Play with animals in a shelter (or adopt!)
- Make someone else's favorite meal
- Send an email to an author/blogger you love
- Connect two people who might hit it off
- Make someone else laugh with a joke
- Offer to run an errand for a busy friend
- Respond with kindness to someone unkind
- Smile at every neighbor you see today
- Text an old friend to reconnect
- Donate things you don't use to a shelter
- Send a "just because" gift to a friend
- Make (and share!) a list someone's good traits
- Send a friend an old photo of you two
- Pay for someone's meal at a restaurant
- Stand up for someone who's in trouble
- Write to Congress re: an issue you value
- Donate old books to your local library
- Volunteer to read to others who cannot
- Spend time chatting with an elderly neighbor
- Offer to wash your parents' cars
- Post nice comments on social media
- Draw a picture for a child
- Visit children at a local hospital
- Speak up for voiceless animals
- Donate time or money to a good cause
- Put someone else's needs before yours
- Share your favorite blog with a friend
- Positively review a product you love
- Offer to babysit a friend's kids
- Smile at people in cars next to yours
- Bring a loved one breakfast in bed
- Compliment a complete stranger
- Give your pet an extra special treat
- Offer to work late for a coworker
- Clean up someone else's mess
- Warm up a loved one's car
- Give someone a huge, bear hug
- Make a special lunch for someone
- Get your coworker's coffee for him/her
- Offer to take notes for someone else
- Help someone with a task you do well
- Send anonymous flowers to a friend
- Let a car cut in front in traffic
- Tell a heart-warming story to a friend
- Give a great book to a bookworm
- Grocery shop for a parent / neighbor
- Drop off dog/cat food at a shelter
- Tip someone you don't have to tip
- Speak to a manager about good service
- Offer to take a photo for selfie-snappers
- Write a (handwritten!) thank you note
- Fill up someone's parking meter
- Leave a positive note on someone's car
- Give what you can to a homeless person
- Take flowers to a nearby nursing home
- Compliment a parent on his/her child
- Point out the positive to someone
- Tell someone why you love him or her
- Put your phone away while with others
- Talk to someone who looks shy
- Make a playlist or CD for a friend
- Pick up litter and throw it away
- Give someone else the parking space
- Write your mail carrier a nice note
- Include everyone in a conversation
- Text "good morning!" to a friend
- Plant a tree at your local park
- Encourage someone's efforts
- Bring in a sweet treat for coworkers
- Go to Coinstar and donate your change
- Sign up to attend a fundraiser
- Call your parents (or grandparents)
- Buy a product from a small business
- Help someone with bags / boxes
- Share your gratitude with your parents
- Sign up to become an organ donor
- Give a homeless person a coat / blanket
- Donate in someone else's name
- Teach a child how to do something
- Ask someone, "How can I help you today?"
The things on this list might seem small in comparison with the acts of great leaders, but did you know that kindness is contagious? Yep, it's true! Doing something kind for someone else makes it more likely that person will do something kind and then there's a ripple effect. So, it might seem like doing one small, positive thing isn't a big deal, but small things can have a big impact!
Have any additional acts of kindness to add to this list? Feel free to share them in the comments section below!
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Pleasing your own self is not about being selfish and egocentric, pleasing yourself consists in always doing those things that resonate with you, and always acting in accordance with your high values, your high standards, and principles. It’s about being true to yourself, it’s about being you under all circumstances, no matter the time of day of the year, no matter if you are in the presence of your mother, your boss, children, friends, or the queen of England.
In the whole world, there isn’t a single person just like you, and that’s exactly what makes you so special, so unique and precious. Why want to be like somebody else, why try to be different than you really are? What if we all done that? What if we all acted as somebody else just to please one another, not realizing that, the moment we do that, not only we are cheating others, while at the same time others are trying to cheat us, but we are also cheating ourselves.
Is that how little respect and appreciation you have for your own person?
Would you say that’s a healthy way of living your life; would you say that’s O.K.?
Pleasing Others Vs. Pleasing Yourself
Pleasing others. Well, we all know the meaning of these two precious words, don’t we? Who doesn’t want to please others, who doesn’t want to please EVERYBODY? There is nothing wrong in wanting to be liked, in wanting others to enjoy your presence, in wanting to please others, but when your main focus is just that, when your main concern is to constantly please others, even if that means not being true to yourself, even if that means betraying your own self, then you definitely need to start questioning your behavior.
Let me tell you a shocking truth. No matter how hard you’ll try and no matter how much time and energy you’ll invest in trying to be this and that, in trying to be liked by everybody, wearing all kind of different masks, none of them really yours, you will never be able to please everybody. Never! It’s impossible, it can’t be done, so STOP IT!
Embrace the real you, accept it, own it, love it. and you will be a lot happier, people around you will be a lot happier, and your life will get a lot easier and lighter.
Don’t compare yourself with others, don’t try to be different, don’t try to be something else just so you can fit in, just so you can be liked. Be yourself, and believe me when I say that, the moment you do just that, the moment you accept and see yourself for what you really are, people will like you more than they ever did, and you will get so much approval that you will get “tired” of it.
Be yourself, be YOU and know that the world needs more people who aren’t afraid to show their real selves, their real personalities, their light, and their beauty, because the moment you allow yourself to just be, the moment you will “let your own light shine, you will unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As you’re liberated from your own fear (of being you, fear of being judged, fear of not being accepted, loved, etc.) your presence will automatically liberate others.” ~ Marianne Williamson
Sharing is caring!